India will be issuing a request for information next month to Lockheed Martin for its F-16 Block 70 and Saab for its Gripen E, for manufacturing single-engine fighters in India.
The Ministry of Defence will float a request for information, or RFI, to US firm Lockheed Martin and Swedish Saab to produce single-engine fighters in collaboration with a private company in the India, DefenseNews reported Monday.
The move is taken to accelerate the Make in India initiative under the strategic partnership model in which the two companies will be asked to submit offers of the single-engine fighters’ air power capabilities.
The submitted offer also has to include “India-specific technology transfer, domestic solutions for the program and the offer for building an ecosystem for the program in the country,” said a senior Indian Air force official.
“We have chosen both F-16 Block 70 and Gripen E because both single-engine fighters are fully upgraded, fully tested and are in full use,” the air force official added.
Both Lockheed Martin and Saab will be given three months to respond to the RFI, which will then be evaluated by an IAF expert committee and the final selection will be made early next year, he added.
Likewise, an expression of interest, or EOI, will be issued to domestic companies in the next three to four months, who will, in turn, tie-up with overseas original equipment manufacturers, (OEMs), to build around 120 single engine fighters, initially costing around $18 billion under the strategic partnership model, an MoD official noted.
India’s government unveiled the SP policy in May, which allows major private defense companies to be nominated as entities to manufacture major defense platforms in partnership with OEMs.
Under this policy, nominated private entities will build submarines, helicopters, single-engine fighters and armored vehicles and battle tanks in India in the next 20 years.